I really was not sure I should tell you all about this, as I want to keep this journal upbeat, but I feel that since this is about my “everyday life”, I must. I have just returned from my second funeral in one week. I am crushed and downtrodden a bit by what I have seen…too many wives and children left behind too soon and tears smeared upon too many faces.
The funeral ceremony in Italy is really not much different from in America. All those who knew you attend to pay their respects. The priest, this being a predominantly Catholic country, usually has some wonderful antidotes to say about the person…sometimes from childhood on…and everyone prays together for the deceased. After the church service, the entire congregation in a paradelike fashion follows the coffin which is carried down the hill to the cemetery. Then everyone stays until the end…sometimes watching a bricklayer close the mausoleum or the pall bearers shoveling dirt on the grave. It ends just the same with the harsh reality of goodbye.

My little town has lost many people in its very long life…dating to before Christ…but today I feel especially sad over the loss of a great and true Cortonese. He was a fixture in this small town…a painter, a philosopher, a jokester, and even called this straniera, foreigner, a friend. I feel blessed to have known him and had my life touched by his. When the priest spoke of him today, he said that probably all of us in the church have a reminder of him, a piece of his soul in the form of one of his works of art. He even admitted he has a painting hanging on his wall. I, too, have an original…

a sketch of my beloved Ciccia Maria…quickly done while sharing a glass of wine in the piazza. Something I will always hold dear. So grazie for all that you have taught us and all that you leave behind. Addio, goodbye.

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